10 Ways to Reduce Your Waste

I have always been fascinated by the idea of living waste free, but let's be honest, in today's world it's nearly impossible. It's also extremely daunting. I've figured out a few ways to reduce my waste without having to make major changes to my lifestyle. I found the easiest way to integrate these changes was to make one change every month. The third day of every month was my "New Habit Day." On these days, I would introduce one of these waste-reducing tips. Here are a few ways you can cut down on your waste without feeling completely overwhelmed, while also feeling proud of what you're doing for Mother Earth. There is no Planet B!

  1. 1. Bamboo Toothbrush

    My favorite bathroom accessory is my bamboo toothbrush. It's impossible (and unhygienic) to use the same toothbrush for the rest of your life, but you can think about alternatives! Instead of a plastic handle, these are made of bamboo, a sustainable material.

  2. 2. Loose Leaf Teas

    I am a HUGE tea drinker and I feel bad about throwing away the packaging every time I have a cup. I know it's only paper and a cloth bag, but these are nonessential. Search for stores that give you reusable containers with loose leaf tea that you can refill at their stores. 

  3. 3. Woven Produce Bag

    Produce and vegetables were never meant to be packaged in plastic. When you buy produce, try bringing a reusable woven bag, instead using plastic bag after plastic bag to wrap your veggies. It has worked wonders for me, and if you're worried about grocery store germs, just wash your produce a little extra in the sink!

  4. 4. Reusable Shopping Bags

    Another thing that I bring to the grocery store is my own reusable bags. I'm always surprised at how much these bags can hold, and how happy I am every time I leave the store with no plastic bags! If you do forget your bags, ask for paper!  And if they don't have paper bags, just put your groceries back in your cart and walk them to your car. It'll be more trips to carry them into your house, but maybe it'll be a lesson you won't forget the next time you shop!

  5. 5. Cardboard Applicators

    For all my ladies, that time of the month is the absolute worst. And personally, I don't even want to think about reusing a flexible cup, but I also don't want to use the single use applicators. I've found that cardboard applicators are a better alternative. This one is up to each woman individually and it's your personal choice what you use! Though this is what works well for me, I'm aware that it will not be the same for everyone, our bodies are unique, let's treat them that way.

  6. 6. Try Thrift Shopping

    Onto the closet, I can safely say about 80 percent of my closet consists of used items. I look through thrift stores and consignment shops anytime I can. Did you know that clothing has microplastics that can get into the water supply when you wash them? I feel better reusing clothing––and I still look cute! Plus, I save hundreds of dollars not buying new. Don't give up shopping, just try other alternatives!

  7. 7. Hair Cleaning Products

    Another way to reduce your waste is to look in the bathroom! Instead of plastic pump dispensers for your soap, use bars. For shampoo and conditioner I adore the bars that Lush sells! They come in a paper bag (or you can use the mesh bags I talked about earlier) and have zero packaging. The shampoo bar gets you a surprisingly good lather, and the conditioner helps me get through my extremely knotted hair! (Extra tip: I add a little extra coconut oil to the conditioner bar and mash it up so it's more of a cream––works wonders!) And the best part is, no more plastic bottles in the shower.

  8. 8. Reusable Containers

    When I go out to eat, or want take-out, I try to bring my reusable glass containers. It's a simple way to avoid using Styrofoam and other plastic containers! (And for the love of all things good please do not microwave any food in plastic/Styrofoam containers!)

  9. 9. Cups and Waterbottles

    I absolutely love to stop at local coffee huts. Supporting a local business while fueling my tea fix makes me super happy! But I found myself using too many single use coffee cups, or plastic cups for cold drinks. Now I try to only use my reusable thermos for my coffees or teas and my tall cup for any cold drinks! My twenty minutes of tea is not worth a cup's 100 years in a landfill.  Another thing I live by is my reusable water bottle. I refuse to take any plastic bottles, I have no reason to. I know that if I wanted water I should have brought my own bottle, or I can stop at a water fountain.  Just one person saying no to plastic bottles and cups can make a huge impact!

  10. 10. A Change in Diet

    Living in Alaska I know how lucky I am to have an abundance of local foods to harvest. I do not eat any red meat and only allow myself one meal with meat a day. Even just reducing your meat intake can make a huge impact environmentally! (Also striving to eat real free range meat is a great goal.) On another note, get out and catch/hunt your own meals, if you can. Not only will you be proud of yourself for supplying your own food, it's an amazingly healthy option!

I know that it's not easy to change our habits. I struggle to make sure I do these every day, but let me tell you, it does get easier and it is definitely worth it. Even if you can do just one of these things, you'll be making an impact. If you made it all the way through this article, then you've already shown you care about our earth. Thanks for standing with me to help save our planet, one plastic bottle at a time.